An Authentic Life @

a blog about authenticity and "keeping it real" at work, play and life

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Life. Loss. Love.

October 14th, 2014 · No Comments



For most it is a series of days, some good, some great, some neither. Either way, we all lay our heads on the pillow at night and imagine — or pray — that tomorrow will be better…that we’ll get another chance to do life just a bit better than today. We’ll finally conquer our to-do list…or call that old friend we’ve been meaning to reconnect with…or spend time with our family as we’ve been promising ourselves we’d do. And at the end of the next day, we again lay our heads on our pillows and know tomorrow is yet another chance to do what we’ve once again neglected to do today…


But what if today was your last chance to do all you’ve put off or planned for but never acted on? What if there were no tomorrows? Would you be satisfied with the life you’ve lived? Would you feel at peace with the state of your relationships with those you love? Or would you regret that there were things left undone, thoughts left unsaid, expressions of love still locked away in your heart but no longer able to be passed along or spoken?


We never think today may be our final moments of life. We’re conditioned to believe we’re necessary — to plan ahead for months, years and decades in the future. We know we’re not immortal but we are convinced we have years and years ahead of us and that belief is sustained by keeping busy, making plans and filling our daily lives with scheduled activities.


But what if your death were only weeks, days or hours from this moment? Would you change how you live tomorrow or the limited time you have remaining? Would you carry regrets from this life to wherever the next life takes you?


In the past two weeks, my wife and I have experienced the loss of three extraordinary people. Each of the losses were tragic and somewhat sudden — jolts to the system and one’s feeling that all is well in one’s universe. All three people were kind-hearted and generous people who led lives to be admired and who were revered by those privileged to know them.

First, my wife lost her cousin to pancreatic cancer that was diagnosed over July 4th weekend. Three short months later (spent mostly in hospitals and enduring excruciatingly painful procedures), she was gone. She leaves behind a grieving family of three young children — two sons and a daughter, a loving and devoted husband, numerous tearful relatives, her heartbroken mother, father and brother and a community where she was much beloved.

That death was followed the next week by the death of my wife’s coworker’s father. A gregarious man who was, in many ways, larger than life and healthy as an ox. He was retired and living an active life for someone in his late 70’s. He worked as a school crossing guard to stay busy and because he loved being around people of all ages…spreading joy with his jovial spirit and caring personality. All was normal in his life until one morning a seemingly harmless fall caused him to hit his head on his nightstand as he was preparing to dress and head off to his crossing guard post near the local elementary school. He drove all the way to his usual spot but never made it out of his car as the fall caused a brain hemorrhage that put him in ICU and led to further complications and a massive heart attack, resulting in death just a few days later.

And today I received the terrible news that a dear friend’s mother was taken from this earth as the result of a tragic and sudden automobile accident. One minute she was living a perfectly normal healthy life, the next moment she was with God. No warning, no health problems, and no chance to say goodbye to her loved ones or for them to bid her farewell. So tragic. So unfairly final. The kind of news no one wants to receive. Her family is understandably devastated. Friends, relatives and the several communities in which she was actively involved and much loved, all in shock.


I grapple with the issue of death and dying regularly…wondering what God has in store for me and why some of the kindest souls I know suffered the fates they did. I ask God why they were taken from us and why their lives ended as they did…trying to fit the pieces together as if they’re supposed form a clear and understandable picture and explanation. And in the end, I realize that I will never solve the mystery and that I simply must trust that His plan, while unknown to me — unknown to any of us — has a purpose. I constantly remind myself that life is fleeting, that we rarely get to choose our final day or the circumstances of our death. Yet still I struggle to grasp the finality of it all.

My mother’s courageous battle with cancer last year hammered home the realization that our best choice in life is to approach every day as if it were our last. I know it sounds morbid and a bit cliche but the reality is we should all focus on what’s most important in life and make sure we live our lives with purpose and spending whatever amount of time we’re given in this lifetime with the ones we love. We should never miss an opportunity to say, “I love you” to friends and especially family. Those three words are what we should leave our loved ones with. Those three words should never grow old. Those three words, lived to the fullest, become the comfort and strength our loved ones will remember us by. And those three words should always be accompanied by a hug and kiss while we’re living. While we still have time. Do it — and do it as often as you can. Never miss an opportunity to say, “I love you” — for you never know when that opportunity may be your last.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If it causes just a few extra “I love you”s to be said or a few extra hugs and kisses to be shared, it was worth every minute it took me to write it.

God bless.

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As the character Graham Hess asks in the movie “Signs”: Is it possible that there are no coincidences?

September 10th, 2014 · No Comments

Those who have followed my posts for a while now know that my mom passed away last September. You may also remember that Len Pattky, during those difficult days, shared a support story with me, The Parable of the Dragonfly. After reading that story, I’ve had numerous encounters with dragonflies. As a spiritual person, I don’t believe them to be simple coincidences.

Today, I had my most amazing “sign” yet. As I was sitting in my Jeep in traffic in the heart of NYC, I was reflecting on the anniversary of her passing and how things have changed for my family over the last year. The top was down, the sun was bright and warm on my face and I was adrift in the music that was playing, “Come Thou Font,” one of my favorite contemporary Christian songs.

Suddenly, as I gazed through my windshield, I saw a dragonfly hovering about 6 inches from my windshield. It paused for about 10 seconds and then circled around me and my Jeep before flitting off into the bright sunlight. It immediately hit me…Mom was with me. At the intersection of 52nd Street and Seventh Avenue in Manhatttan, a dragonfly, bearing my mother’s spirit, had brought me blessings and feelings of love from beyond.

Some may still say it is coincidence…but not me. In all my years of commuting to and from NYC and all the hours I’ve spent walking the streets of Manhattan, never once have I seen a dragonfly. Until today, nearly a year to the day that she entered Hospice care. Thank you, Mom.

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Sharing a post from “Change Your Attitude, Change Your Life” Blog

July 29th, 2014 · No Comments

I had the privilege of meeting Joan Herrmann many moons ago, when we were both enrolled in college.  We had the same major and spent many hours in the classroom together.  Then we lost touch after graduation.  My loss, really.

All these years later and I reconnected with her via social media.  Then we had lunch.  Now I have a brain worm working on me every week to do what Joan did…change my attitude, change my life.  She is extraordinary in many ways but, specifically, she has a gift for bringing calmness and deep thought to the stuff that makes most of us keep a bottle of Xanax in our medicine cabinets.  And while she’s a spiritual and religious person, she’s not an evangelist or saver of souls.

Here’s a great post I hope anyone dealing with a possible divorce reads before pulling the plug prematurely.  Great advice here:

Slow Down You Move Too Fast….

Recently a friend who was contemplating separating from her husband gave me a call and asked my advice. A few years ago when my emotions were spinning out of control and I was in the throes of my marriage breakdown I would have shouted “Divorce the bastard!”

Now, two years post-divorce, I have gotten off the em…otional rollercoaster called relationship breakdown and a cooler head prevails. My advice to her: slow down you move too fast!

What’s the rush to get a divorce? Unless you or your children are in physical danger, why rush? Divorce can be a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

When my marriage was breaking up, we both got on the merry go round and didn’t know how to get off. I hurt him. He hurt me. I hurt him again. He one upped me. And so on and so on and so on. If only we had someone that loved us both sit us down, shake us, and say, “Get off the ride!”

I’m not saying that divorce isn’t the right choice in some cases; sometimes it’s the only thing a person can do. But when one in two marriages end in divorce, perhaps we need to slow down.

So, if you’re in the middle of a breakup or thinking about initiating one. Slow down. Breathe. Seek counsel. Confide in a trusted friend – one who will not fuel the fire. Put your pride aside and extinguish your anger. Open your heart. Talk and talk and talk until you can’t talk anymore. Listen. Remember why you fell in love. Do anything you can to work it through.

Think about how things will be down the road a few years after the dissolution. New girlfriends or husbands. Children from other relationships blended into your family. Financial upset. Loneliness. Regret. It is estimated that within five years, one-third of divorced couples regret their decision to split.

While the grass may look greener on the other side, remember that’s because of the manure.

Slow down. What’s the rush? You have plenty of time for forever.


And here’s the link to Joan’s blog:

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Wishing We Didn’t Have To Relearn Lessons The Hard Way

April 25th, 2014 · No Comments

I know that the situation in Ukraine is perilous right now.  However, I must say that I feel vindicated that the main stream media is now acknowledging that Obama screwed the pooch again on this one.  His obnoxious, “the ’80s called and want their foreign policy back” comment to Mitt Romney during the 2012 campaign interviews shows just how out of touch he and his advisers are.  We need competent leadership…especially when it comes to world events and foreign policy.  Weakness and indecision is disastrous.  This is a lesson history has taught us time and again but which we seem to forget when choosing the leader of the free world.

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Reality TV — describing or defining real life?

August 26th, 2013 · No Comments


I turned on the television in my kitchen for background noise as I was preparing lunch today and it happened to be on E! Channel. “Keeping Up With the Kardashian’s” was on. I have never watched that show.

As I was fixing myself something to eat, I began to tune into the show’s dialog playing in the background. Within 20 seconds I hear one of the girls talking about how the guy she went out with on a date wasn’t calling her back. She then says “my girlfriend asked me if I had given him a blow*** yet” and then goes on to say “and I said like…no!” After some laughter she continues with “so my girlfriend says, ‘well that’s why he’s not calling you back’.”

Nice, right? At 4:30 in the afternoon on a Monday (and I’m sure the show repeats throughout most of the day, as is the trend on most networks these days). I’m disgusted by the big ugly steps media is taking to “entertain” our generation and our kids. I wonder what my grandparents would do if they were still alive to see what my generation’s TV programming has become.

Added to last night’s crude Miley Cyrus stunt, it’s another great example of how irresponsible media producers and media companies have become. They seem oblivious to their influence on our youth and their obligation to maintain a modicum of good judgment related to representing decent societal values.

WAIT! It gets better, though. In the “info guide” of that episode titled, “The Kardashian Chainsaw Massacre,” part of the description info reads:

“Kim plans to get back at her judgmental family by secretly feeding them placenta…”

WTF? Has the whole world gone mad? Where are our leaders on this garbage? And please don’t pull out the legalese about how cable TV is exempt from typical broadcast TV standards. I know all that. I’m asking why, as a society, we don’t seem to care anymore about decency, respect (especially self-respect) and providing better examples of how to live one’s life. *sigh*

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